Today, when it comes to improving the search engine rankings, there are more options available than ever before. Over the last several years, I have had countless conversations with business owners who tell me that they are more than a little nervous to give SEO another shot. This hesitation is often born out of poor performance from another company. So, how do you find a reputable company that will do what they say, and get you some solid results? There are many factors to consider but, most boil down to finding someone that you feel comfortable with and trust, communicate well with and can show you results. Why is this difficult? Since SEO is not a regulated industry, anyone can take a couple classes and claim they do search engine optimization. However, not all firms are created equal. Every company does things a little different but, there are some basic things that separate the good , from the bad and the ugly. Here are a few questions to ask a potential new firm as well as the top mistakes to avoid.
Questions to ask:
- How long has the company been in business?
- How many people are in the firm?
- How many clients do they have and what is their client retention rate?
- Do they outsource any portion of their SEO Process?
- How do you they decide what keywords to target and how many will they target for you?
- What do you get for your money? How to quantify the services provided?
- Is there a contract, for what period of time?
- Will you have an assigned account manager?
- What type of reporting will you receive and how often?
- Is link building & “Off Page SEO a primary element in the SEO strategy or is it just “On Page”?
- Is the content developed for link building & blogging 100% unique content? Can you request to review the content?
- Do they include content generation as a critical element of the SEO process?
- Will they offer a Custom SEO Evaluation including a real time SEO ranking report & Website analysis?
Mistakes to avoid:
- Firms that make you a guarantee of getting a specific spot or on the 1st page of a Google search.
- Companies that offer a quick fix to bring your rankings up.
- Working with a company that is not Google Certified
- Assuming the lowest price is the best option.
- Not asking for references or examples of success.
- Firms that rely on Spun Articles (Non Unique Content) & Link Farms that often a littered with worthless or non spam oriented referring domains (Black Hat SEO)
- Paying for SEO in advance of more than one month for a discount.
Unlike many other industries there are no guarantees in the SEO game. Even the best companies can have difficulty getting good rankings for certain keywords or niches, occasionally. The best thing that you can do to protect yourself and your company is to take your time, do some research, and ask plenty of questions. This will help make sure both parties expectations are aligned and realistic. If you find the right company and have the right expectations about what they will do for you, Search Engine Optimization as a long term strategy to build your brand and get customers for your business can yield fantastic results and help drive your business to the next level of success.